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IDF Spokesperson: We DIDN'T say PRC was behind Eilat attack

Yesterday morning, I wrote a piece questioning the journalistic ethics of some in the Israeli media and, to a larger extent, the entire international press corps over of their rush to adopt the Israeli government claim that Gaza-based terror organization Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) were behind Thursday’s triple terror attack near Eilat. As the terror attack was unfolding, Israeli warplanes were warming up to carry out airstrikes in the Gaza strip without revealing any concrete proof  to the public confirming that the culprits of the attack were from Gaza.  After a night of bombing, a number of senior operatives in the PRC were killed along with a handful of civilians including children.

The Real News Network’s Lia Tarachansky asked IDF Spokesperson Lt. Colonel Avital Leibovitz  for evidence that the PRC was, indeed, responsible for the Eilat terror attack. Liebovitz responded that the Israel “did not say that this group was responsible for the terror attack.” This quote  distanced the IDF spokesperson from the public statements Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made on the evening of the attack placing clear responsibility on the PRC.  Backtracking in the interview, Liebovitz said,

We did not say that this group was responsible for the terror attack. We based this on intelligence information as well as some facts that [we] actually presented an hour ago to some wires and journalists. Some of the findings that were from the bodies of the terrorists, and they are using, for example, Kalashnikov bullets and Kalashnikov rifles [which] are very common in Gaza.

In response to this quote,  Paul Woodward at War in Context responded “So, the IDF says it “knows” the gunmen came from Gaza because they were using Kalashnikovs. That’s about as logical as saying they know they came from Gaza because they appeared to be Arabs.”

The simple yet difficult to answer question remains open, who is responsible for the Eilat terror attacks? If the PRC and Hamas, both of which have denied responsibility, are not the culprits, as Lt. Col Avital Liebovitz alleges in the Real News interview, why is Israel attacking targets in Gaza with overwhelming force?  Why are senior members of the Israeli and international press corps reporting unsubstantiated Israeli government claims as fact without doing the necessary legwork of revealing sources and providing verifiable proof of their material.

If the PRC episode is a harbinger of how the media is going to handle the next Israeli offensive in Gaza one sorry conclusion can be made, Prime Minister Netanyahu will be left unmolested with obloquy demanding that his government provide factual evidence to support their rationale for war.

Read more about the Eilat terror attacks:

Dimi Reider – News coverage of the shooting and bombing

Yossi Gurvitz – Why Israel shouldn’t attack Gaza

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. It’s 9/11 all over again, including (Israeli) government failure to prevent the event (gunmen crossing into Israel across an ill-defended border, similar to USA’s failure to shoot down the errant airplanes) and use of event as an excuse to do what the government (or military if that’s not the same thing) wanted to do in the first place, start a war.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Examination

      its Israel way to stop the Protests that were suppose to take place.Israel=Netanyahu and his so called ‘government’ will take any agenda to do so and lives wont matter to politicians it never does!
      this did them good… more benefits than harms!

      Reply to Comment
    3. sandra budak

      Hitler once used over whelming force against the Jewish population of Europe, it was called the Shoah.Which inspired the 4th Genevas convention article 33 Article 33. No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
      Pillage is prohibited.
      Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.
      “Anyone” with an agenda could have chosen to use kalashnikovs,knowing that the blame was going to be put on Gaza…up to and including desperate politicians who felt they were losing their grip on the public of israel.

      Reply to Comment
    4. aristeides

      If they were using Kalshnikovs, they were more likely Russians. Maybe Lieberman was behind it.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Koshiro

      @ IDF
      “Some of the findings that were from the bodies of the terrorists, and they are using, for example, Kalashnikov bullets and Kalashnikov rifles [which] are very common in Gaza.”
      That was supposed to be a joke of some kind, right?

      @ Sandra
      The joke here is that Kalashnikovs are the most common type of military rifle ever produced. There are more AKs on this planet than all other types of assault rifles combined, and they are especially ubiquitous in non-Western countries. To conclude that they came from Gaza because the carried AKs is to say they came from Gaza because they wore shoes and we all know almost everybody wears shoes in Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Woody

      Paul Woodward’s analysis “That’s about as logical as saying they know they came from Gaza because they appeared to be Arabs.” doesn’t even capture the extent of the IDF’s idiocy (or cunning assumption that we’re all stupid).

      The Kalshnik fires the 7.62x39mm ammunition. Not only is that fired by any of the 100 million AK-47s, but by the SKS (15 million), and it has been made to fit into a large number of US hunting rifles. I even fired some of this ammunition a month ago. RIDICULOUS – it’s like they’re mocking people with a brain.

      Reply to Comment
    7. I am not interested in condemning the IDF or Bibi at the moment. I was, and still am, confused by one counterfactual: If the Popular Committee did order the attack, shouldn’t their command have dispersed, rather than congregating in one house, given the likelihood of an Israeli reprisal?
      —————
      But it doesn’t matter much now. Escalation on both sides has consumed innocents. Now each side will be avenging their innocents.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Taoist

      There we go again.

      Regardless of who did it, knowing that “military intelligence” is a contradiction in terms, and aware of the knee-jerk responses of the Israeli government cabal, shooting first and finding out later, what do we have?

      First, irresponsible, out of control militants without any regard for human life; second, a neurotic reaction from the Israeli trigger-happy government clique, that look more like a hysteric old lady under attack by purse snatchers on the street, than a rational government responding to a crisis.

      I agree with Egypt’s assessment over Israel’s reaction, issuing “hasty and irresponsible remarks that indicate a lack of wisdom”.

      Israel has the might, but not so much wisdom.

      Confronting a situation where innocent Israelis were killed (my sincere condolences for so many lives lost), given a golden opportunity to respond from a high moral ground, old lady Barak comes out shooting like a neurotic, with an out of proportion response, and guess what?

      Now Israel is in serious danger of being isolated even further, with the killing of three Egyptian policeman.

      Israelis, you have a responsibility before yourselves, to rid Israel of these dangerous gang of three power-neurotic morons: Netanyahu, Lieberman and Barak.

      May God bless all of those who lost their lives, and those who are grieving, Israelis and Palestinians alike.

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    9. We all know that the most likely explanation for the whole affair is that the mossad was behind it; cui bono, who benefits? Only Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Taoist

      http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/08/201182035246810338.html

      Egypt withdraws ambassador from Israel

      Cabinet demands compensation and investigation into cross-border shooting incident that left five Egyptian police dead.

      ———————————

      More isolation and delegitimization anyone?

      Thank you, hysteric old lady Barak.

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    11. Jon

      @Seymour

      I agree. I bet it was a Mossad op.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Armani

      This is an inside job, Israel attacks itself and blames Gaza to derail the upcoming UN hearing for a free Palestinian State-simple and clear.
      No complications, no mistakes, no other motive. Watch the World look the other way and do nothing about it, if it was the other way round, the US would have ran to the UN and asked for condemnation and sanctions.
      We are such a pathetic Country, such bias and ignorance, no wonder we are becoming the laughing stock, we are controlled by some zionists in Congress!

      Reply to Comment
    13. Michael W.

      Houston, we have a problem.

      Dear +972blog, do you see the comments above? Is this an Israeli blog or what? I think we have a problem here.

      Dear troofers, go back to Mondoweiss.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Bosko

      Wow, the mind boggles. There are some people blogging here who have feverish imaginations. If Israel did this to itself for it’s own “benefit” then it assumes that there are people in the Mossad who are willing to murder fellow Israelis. Just to please Bibi and his party.

      To assume that in a country like Israel. With all the political infighting and intrigue, such an act could be kept under wraps for too long, is sheer madness. Flat earth anyone? Pink Elephants? Flying pigs?

      Question: Is it so hard to believe the simple explanation that some Arab terror cell did this? After all, it wouldn’t be the first time. They have been doing similar and even worse things for nearly 100 years now.

      Those of you who are claiming that it’s a Mossad setup, are making a laughing stock of yourselves

      Reply to Comment
    15. Reading this blog and it’s comments is very interesting looks like the person who wrote this and the people who comment are frighten to admit a simple fact – a terror arrack was performed without any provocation by Israel, afterward a missile attack was peform killing more civilians and hitting a a school in Israel. Looks like you’re preferring to fantasies rather than face the terffing thruth that these are terror attacks which require a strong quick and decisive response.
      Just turn the table around and see if you would have expected a different response.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Michael S

      “Reading this blog and it’s comments is very interesting looks like the person who wrote this and the people who comment are frighten to admit a simple fact – a terror arrack was performed without any provocation by Israel”

      Not true. This was the day before:

      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4109355,00.html

      Reply to Comment
    17. Deïr Yassin

      @ Reader from Israel
      “A terror attack was performed without any provocation by Israel, afterwards a missile attack was performed killing more civilians and hitting a school in Israel”.
      I haven’t heard of any missile attack hitting a school and killings civilians [plural], but anyhow, I think you missed something in that narrative.
      An attack was launched in Eilat. Without knowing who were behind the attack, Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committee having immediately denied all implications, the State of Israel launch an attack on Gaza, killing 14 people including three children of 2, 5 and 13 years.
      The PRC who lost 4 members and the son of one of their leaders during the first Israeli bombing send off rockets and kill one person in Beer Sheva. They have claimed the responsability as an response to the Israeli aggression.
      We still don’t know who’s behind the attacks in Eilat, but in the Israeli racist mind “an Arab is an Arab is an Arab, so let’s just bomb the hell out of some of them, after all they’re all the same”.
      Did I miss some point ?
      PS. I wonder if you as an Israeli have any idea of how many Gazans have been killed by your State during this last month before the bombing ? Or during the month of July ? Did you hear about this 16 years old mentally retarded who was killed by 10 bullets, mostly in his head, in a not-prohibited zone and being of no danger to Israel. 10 bullets.
      Spare us your moral lessons about ‘turning the tables’ and ‘without any provocations’.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Bosko

      @Deir Yassin – “We still don’t know who’s behind the attacks in Eilat, but in the Israeli racist mind “an Arab is an Arab is an Arab, so let’s just bomb the hell out of some of them, after all they’re all the same”.
      One could turn this sentence around and replace the words “an Arab is an Arab etc…” with the words “A Jew is a Jew etc …” and say “In the Arab racist mind etc …”
      But if I would do that, Deir Yassin would accuse me of racism even though I would be able to remind her that the whole thing was triggered by Jews being killed and the Arabs were killed in response. Not the other way around. But in the world of the Deir Yassins of this world, cause is mixed up with response …
      In her wonderful world, the response is the cause of all the problems. What can one do except shake one’s head in disbelief?

      Reply to Comment
    19. Sylvia

      Deir Yassin hasn’t heard it, is proof that it didn’t happen.
      The PRC didn’t claim the attack in Eilat, is proof that they didn’t do it. Parole de terroriste.
      .
      But the one that really made my day comes from the clueless As-a-Jew:
      “Blues band ‘Tuba Skinny’ cancels Eilat, reportedly responding to boycott appeal”.
      Never mind that we have been under a permanent red alert kin the entire South since Thursday, never mind that all football games and all events were cancelled, that people didn’t go to work — THAT couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the cancellation. It has to be the boycott, stupid!
      .

      Reply to Comment
    20. Sylvia

      @Woody
      “I even fired some of this ammunition a month ago.”
      Using Iranian bullets?

      Reply to Comment
    21. Deïr Yassin

      @ Sylvia
      “The PRC didn’t claim the attack in Eilat”

      No, they specifically claimed that they WERE NOT behind this attack. And prior to the bombings in Gaza.
      The killing of 14 people in Gaza not involved in the attacks in Eilat are innocent victims just as the Israeli tourists in Eilat.
      The three kids even more.

      And knowing the IDF: if any proofs were yet available, they would already have been published in all the MSM.
      By the way, the Arab village on which Eilat is constructed was named Umm al-Rashrash.

      @ Bosko aka Right Wing Zionist
      Maybe you should ask Yuri Edelstein to get some new stuff to parrot, it’s getting quite boring. Hopefully you’re paid quantitatively and not qualitatively.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Koshiro

      @ Bosko
      “One could turn this sentence around and replace the words “an Arab is an Arab etc…” with the words “A Jew is a Jew etc”
      One could, but it would be nonsense. The facts remain: The IDF did not know if the PRC was responsible, and yet attacked them, killing several noncombatants including children – which amounts to randomly murdering people they didn’t like.
      .
      Leaving aside all the ethic ramifications, which barely register in the Israeli debate anyway, let us just ask a simple question:
      What did the Israeli retaliation achieve for Israel?
      - Renewed hostilities with the PRC and Hamas, who killed one Israeli and wounded many others with rocket fire.
      - A fresh crisis in the already tense relationship with one of the last allies Israel still had in the region.
      Now was that the intended effect? I guess not. If it was not, what are the positive effect that were worth this downside? I can’t see any so far.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Koshiro
      “What did the Israeli retaliation achieve for Israel?”
      1. It serves the current government’s ideology
      2. It will force the US to publicly endorse Israel’s war crimes once again
      3. It demolishes a civil discussion about the UN bid in september
      4. It will protect the settlement policy
      5. A state of emergency will change the way the J14 movement is developing
      and so on…
      For Israel as a country and for all the decent people living there, this is a catastrophy, but for egotistic alpha male politicians it gives meaning to their lives. Scaring the hell out of everyone is still a good recipe to stay in power. Après nous le déluge…

      Reply to Comment
    24. Taoist

      @ Bosko aka Right Wing Zionist
      Maybe you should ask Yuri Edelstein to get some new stuff to parrot, it’s getting quite boring. Hopefully you’re paid quantitatively and not qualitatively.

      =============================

      LOL…

      “Never again…”

      “We are here to stay…”

      “Never again…”

      “We are here to stay…”

      “Never again…”

      “We are here to stay…”

      Ad nauseam…parrots anyone?

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    25. Mitchell Cohen

      ” “Never again…”

      “We are here to stay…” ”

      And yet, some of you STILL don’t seem to get that through your heads….Hence, the never ending cycle of violence….

      Reply to Comment
    26. Taoist

      And yet, some of you STILL don’t seem to get that through your heads….Hence, the never ending cycle of violence….

      —————————–

      Watch your mouth.

      Nobody questions the “Never again” or the “We are here to stay,” except when boringly repeated ad nauseam as a right-wing Zionist mantra, which loses all meaning from sheer overuse.

      And what’s the fear that someone would push Israelis to the sea? Only paranoid minds can see that as possible, and parrot the phrases above in a Goebbelsian mode, in order to highlight the fear, play the forever “victim,” and throw a smoke-screen on Israel’s government own crimes against humanity.

      Of course, the Hasbara know the repetition of catch phrases have an impact on those who feed on hysteria, and have lost all sense of reality, a-la Barak/Lieberman/Netanyahu.

      Keep on trucking….

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    27. Sylvia

      Deir Yassin
      “By the way, the Arab village on which Eilat is constructed was named Umm al-Rashrash”
      And the ancient Jewish village on which Umm al-Rashrash was constructed was named Eilat/Elath.
      .
      2 Kings 14: 21-22
      “Then all the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah.
      He was the one who rebuilt EILAT and restored it to Judah after Amaziah rested with his fathers.”

      Reply to Comment
    28. Bosko

      @Mitchell Cohen – You better listen to Taoist. He seems to be threatening you. He told you to “Watch your mouth”. Then again, maybe he is being threatened by your point of view?

      Reply to Comment
    29. Deïr Yassin

      Wow, Sylvia quotes something from a Holy Book to confirm her claims. That’s serious stuff, isn’t it ? Who’s the author ? I want to see whether it’s a serious scholar that I can trust ….

      Reply to Comment
    30. Bosko

      @Koshiro – “Leaving aside all the ethic ramifications, which barely register in the Israeli debate anyway, let us just ask a simple question:
      What did the Israeli retaliation achieve for Israel?”
      That is a fair question which is worthy of debate. But that’s not the direction in which the debate was heading on this blog. It was heading towards conspiracy theories which are worthy of ridicule

      Reply to Comment
    31. a “rationale for war”. Maybe that’s the saddest thing: inflicting shock and awe on defenseless people and call it war so the public will support you.
      A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but a war needs to be called a war so the word can give birth to the stench.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Bosko

      Question to those who are obsessing about who actually was behind the attack against Israeli civilians. If you had irrefutable evidence that a particular Palestinian Arab faction, call it ‘faction -A’, was behind the attack, would you then condone retaliation against that faction by Israel?
      Because if your response is a ‘yes’ then one would have to suggest that Israel has no right to shoot back following any attack on it’s citizens, unless they get a signed confession in triplicate from the attackers.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Bosko

      @Engelbert Lusitz – ”
      A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but a war needs to be called a war so the word can give birth to the stench”
      I share your abhorence of war. Now ask yourself, who is forcing war on whom?

      Reply to Comment
    34. @Bosko
      Netanyahu’s first response to the horrible Itamar murders was: we will build 500 apartments.
      With no knowledge whatsoever of who did it.
      What would have been an appropriate reaction to the massacre Baruch Goldstein so cleverly staged? Kill his family, wipe his whole village off the map, drive all religious fanatics into the sea?
      No, the Palestinians were the bad guys and Goldstein got a statue.
      No person in his right mind is blind for the Janus face of Israeli justice. Even if terrorist believe in a cause, they should be punished for their deeds, that’s part of their martyrdom so to speak. But not one innocent person’s life, let alone that of child, should be taken as collateral damage. There is no moral justification for retaliation if it goes beyond taking the actual perpetrators to justice.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Bosko

      @Engelbert Lusitz – ” Even if terrorist believe in a cause, they should be punished for their deeds, that’s part of their martyrdom so to speak. But not one innocent person’s life, let alone that of child”
      Those are fine sentiments and I share them in principle. But tell me please, in the context of this conflict, a conflict between two nationalist movements, the Arab and Jewish nationalist movements. How can Israel identify, let alone get at the specific perpetrators of an atrocity such as the one recently perpetratated against Israeli civilians?
      Tell the truth, this is just one atrocity in a string of such atrocities. At the end of each atrocity, the Arab terrorists, whoever they may be, scurry off to some dark corner and lay low. And this is the crunch … They are aided, abetted and morally supported by most of the Palestinian Arabs in their endeavour. How do I know? A majority of the Palestinian Arabs voted for Hamas in the 2006 elections, don’t tell me that they were not aware that Hamas stands for terrorism? How else do I know? Because the militant/terrorist factions have no trouble in recruiting new recruits. I also know that there is no visible mass movement for peace in Gaza I only see open celebrations following successful “operations” (a euphemism for terrorist acts against Israeli civilians).
      All that adds up to a state of war between the two competing nationalist movements. A war that the Arab side wants to continue. And in wars, unfortunately innocents get hurt on both sides. That is so even in NATO’s war in Afghanistan. And all other wars. We need to complain against those who want the war to go on. Not the side who responds to acts of war.

      Reply to Comment
    36. I’m sorry Bosko, this really is a case of one-sided perception. If you lived in Gaza or the West Bank you would have a clear picture of a “string of such atrocities” every day. All covered up by the IDF or impenetrable bureaucracy. A peace movement is something you see in the oppressors camp, not with the oppressed. They want peace of course, but they express it in opposing injustice. Just as the Vietnam protests were in the US. Or the J14 demonstration in Israel now. It’s a luxury, as cynical as that may sound. When you are a victim, you have a different frame of reference. You want freedom of movement, legal protection, a normal life. That results in peace, but you don’t even think about it. We think about peace for others, but they couldn’t care less, it’s too abstract. Just let them live the life they want to live, and then from the outside we can say: Hey they live a peaceful life.
      Do like Miko Peled, confront your anguishes and prejudices, and you will see they will disappear. It’s not Arabs, Zionists, whites, blacks, women, God’s favorites or aliens we have to fear: it’s xenophoia.

      Reply to Comment
    37. And before you focus on the typo to ignore my argument, I’d like to throw in an extra “b”.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Bosko

      @Engelbert Lusitz – “Netanyahu’s first response to the horrible Itamar murders was: we will build 500 apartments”
      In all fairness, Engelbert, even if you don’t agree with Israel’s building policies, how can you compare that to the Itamar massacre. I mean, building versus pure unadultarated murder of children and a sleeping baby …
      And then this one …
      @Engelbert Lushitz – “… A peace movement is something you see in the oppressors camp, not with the oppressed …”
      That’s a reasonable point you make if we speak in generalities. But with the conflict between the Jewish National movement (Zionism) and Arab narional movement, your point is not relevant. Why? Because before 1967, there was no “Occupation” yet the Arab nationalist movement still unleashed terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. And even before that, in 1947/1948, it was the Arab side that unleashed the war against the Jewish side.
      Ok, if you want to take their side, please do. But please don’t pretend that somehow, we are the ones who want this war to go on. Just admit that you side with them in their aspirations to eliminate the Jewish national movement in the Middle East. This has been an ongoing historical conflict. It didn’t start in 1967.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Bosko

      @Engelbert Lushitz – Of course I won’t focus on your typo. I didn’t even see it. But more importantly, I make plenty of typos myself

      Reply to Comment
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